Ministry of Education

Rodney Hide on union fear and loathing of charter schools

Rodney Hide writes in the NBR about the fear and loathing of charters schools by doctrinaire unions.

On cue with last week’s column explaining why lefties are a miserable lot, the principal of Bruce McLaren Intermediate, Roy Lilley, hit the papers having a moan.

His gripe? Charter schools. His worry? That they will pinch his pupils with inducements of a free uniform and a policy of no donations. The new charter schools, he says, will have a “huge” and negative impact.

The newspaper reports Mr Lilley’s school having 416 spare places. The 2013 Education Review Office Report confirms the roll at 248. His school’s almost two-thirds empty.

Why isn’t Mr Lilly offering free uniforms? Why isn’t he having a “no donations” policy? Why isn’t he offering what students and parents want, so a charter school is no threat? Why isn’t he offering to rent his spare capacity to the new charter school and achieve synergy?

Why aren’t we laughing at him?

We would if he was the local supermarket whining about a rival opening up down the road. We would be laughing and looking forward to sharper prices, better service and higher quality produce.

Teachers, and their unions aren’t interested in any of that, they are interested in protecting their own hegemony of the system.

But schools are different. Here we have never known choice and competition. Our schools are run like the Soviet economy. The Ministry of Education is our Kremlin.

The Soviets were frightened: who would feed, clothe and house them if not the government? We are the same. We can’t imagine schooling in the absence of government direction and control.

Who would build the schools? Who would feed the teachers? Who would decide what is to be taught? And how?

Read more »

Every state house is a sacred state house?

Phil Twyford explaining why the derelict state house behind him should be kept for eternity.

Phil Twyford explaining why the derelict state house behind him should be kept for eternity.

At the moment the National led government is looking at selling some state houses.

You’d think the world and caved in on itself if you listened to the Labour party.

They are invoking asset sales because in their world if even a single house is sold that is an asset sale.

Presumably they will also be protesting about the Ministry of Education’s Surplus Property Disposal Incentive Scheme where schools are encouraged to “release surplus school property to the Ministry of Education for disposal through the Surplus Property Disposal Incentive Scheme (SPDIS).”

Surplus property is surely just another word for assets?

When you think about it the mere suggestion that because something is owned by the government it can never be sold, even when tried, worn out or simply in the wrong place for modern times.

Society changes as do our preferences and the way we live. But for some reason the Labour party thinks that we should forever remain stuck in the heydays of state housing in the 40s and 50s, with every citizen hankering after a state house.   Read more »

Is it Hekia or her officials who are deaf to concerns over funding for sign language?

Recently Hekia Parata announced a further $11m for NZ Sign Language over the next 4 years.

This is on top of $6m over four years previously announced in this years budget and existing funding.

In addition to around $1m this year that the MoE has re-prioritised into this same area.

Hekia’s announcement was interesting and illustrates that she has been taken for a ride by MoE officials and sector lobbyists.

In the most recent announcement, the press release says…

 “There are currently around 400 deaf children in New Zealand aged between 0 up to 5 years-old, and another 1400 aged between 5 and 18 years old.”

So reading this you think the money is for 1800 kids. $18m over four years for 1800 kids who probably have pretty high needs doesn’t seem too much. It’s about $2500 a year each.

But do these numbers really stack up?

The DomPost did a follow up article after a number of people questioned their cut and paste job of the minister’s press release.

It turns out that there are only 60-70 kids 0-18 who are reliant on sign language and another 200 who might use it regularly in support of their oral language.

Ministry of Education head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey said the figures were made up of children with moderate to profound hearing loss and drawn from the Deafness Notification Database 2010-2013, as well as quarterly reports of the country’s two deaf education centres to June 2014.

She confirmed that of the 1800 deaf children, only 60 to 70 were identified as reliant on sign language to access the curriculum.

About another 200 students in deaf education centres used sign language regularly. Read more »

Non-disclosure by Thrupp, NZEI and media peddling story on National Standards

The NZ Herald is today running a story that National Standards are appalling because schools are focussing on Reading , Writing and Arithmetic instead of lame subjects like art, social studies and basket weaving.

The report is from Martin Thrupp an avowed opponent of National Standards.

Primary and intermediate school teachers are being overworked and some subjects are prioritised at the expense of others, says a study into National Standards.

The latest report from the Research, Analysis and Insight into National Standards (Rains) project is released today. It analysed how six schools from around the country fared with National Standards.

Waikato University professor Martin Thrupp, who led the study, said worrying trends had popped up in schools since the standards for reading, writing and mathematics were implemented in 2010.

Those subjects had become the focus for some schools who wanted to make sure its students were meeting national levels. This meant subjects such as art, history, social studies and other activities had been left behind.

One school had begun a series of uninterrupted sessions in literacy and numeracy from 9am-11am every day.  Read more »

And she was registered

Labour and the Teacher unions all tell us that registered teachers are the best, provide protection for the kids and that is why they oppose charter schools.

Yet every week there is another registered teacher before the courts of the Teachers’ Council for some crime or another.

The licensee of a preschool childcare centre who overstated funding claims, resulting in overpayment by the Ministry of Education, is facing restrictions on her ability to undertake school managerial positions.

A decision from the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal said the woman was convicted in the district court in June 2012 on three related charges of taking, obtaining, or using a document for pecuniary advantage.  Read more »

PPTA bullying on Charter Schools

Th PPTA has extensive rules and policy papers about bullying in schools, and even on paper that talks about teachers being the new targets of bullies.

This paper refers to both bullying and harassment of teachers. The School Anti-Violence Toolkit, published by the union earlier this year, used the umbrella term “violence” to cover all forms of bullying and harassment, and preferred the term “harassment” when discussing behaviour directed at teachers by students. However, teachers themselves are increasingly using the term “bullying” to describe the targeted aggressive behaviour they experience from both students and adults in schools.

Which perfectly explains the PPTA’s own attitude towards charter schools.

Northland teachers have been banned by their union from any interaction with charter school staff, in a move a Whangarei charter school chief executive has described as “bully tactics”.

The Post-Primary Teachers Association has instructed members to deny charter school staff and management professional, sporting or cultural interactions or support.

Government-funded like state schools, charter schools are not operated by the Ministry of Education but by sponsors such as iwi, not-for-profit organisations, businesses or existing education providers.  Read more »

They will all be registered too

The Labour party and the teacher unions all vehemently oppose partnership schools. Their hatred is pathological and their arguments are irrational. Once of the arguments against Partnership schools is that there isn’t a requirement for all teacher to be registered.

Registration they say will protect the children. They say this despite a long line of registered teachers before the courts on all sorts of violence, sexual and dishonesty offences.

Then there is a Herald story which shows just how bad registered teachers really are:

A child bitten by her teacher, teachers smacking children and staff smoking near pupils were among almost 250 cases of abuse and neglect at early childhood education centres reported last year.

Information about the complaints to the Ministry of Education were released under the Official Information Act to child advocacy group ChildForum.

The group’s national director, Sarah Farquhar, called the results “horror stories” and raised concerns about how complaints were dealt with by the ministry. She felt there was a heavier focus on supporting early childhood education (ECE) services than complainants.  Read more »

Unemployed teachers – there is a solution

Might be a job at a partnership school?

Hundreds of teachers are out of work as graduates fight for vacancies which can attract as many as 100 applications each.

A new Ministry of Education report on teacher supply shows jobs remain hard to come by.

Aucklander Rebecca Young, 40, has been looking throughout the country for a primary school job since graduating in May last year. At least 40 of her graduating class were in the same position, she said.

“I get letters that say my CV is fantastic, but it is just the high volume of applicants. I got a letter the other day saying I was one of 100, so it has come down a little bit, from 140 or 150.”

Ms Young is now looking overseas after sending in more than 80 applications for primary school posts.

However, both the Government and an education school say the situation has improved, and further relief is on the horizon as population growth increases the need for teachers.  Read more »

Mike Hosking on National Standards

Mike Hosking discusses National Standards in his editorial.

I guess I have been lucky. National standards have been a non-event for me, well as a parent anyway. National standards though as a broadcaster have been a hotly debated, contentious concept that according to a report out from the Ministry of Education this week is wrong quite a bit of the time.

The teachers’ unions hate them, the claims over national standards from the unions have been many fold and none of it good. The detail is vague, it can be misinterpreted, teachers don’t like them, some schools held out against them, it leads to parents making comparisons with other schools which means that makes the education system competitive.

If all I knew about national standards was what I had heard on the radio and I had no kids and no teachers to talk to, I’d have come to the conclusion they were a risky, problematic concept riddled with issues that were leading the nation’s kids and schools down a slippery old slope. It is perhaps a good lesson as to why there is often more than one side to most stories.  Read more »

Bludgers want our money but no accountability

If Maori want continued government support best they start complying with the rules.

Maori language schools are prominent among those refusing to hand over national standards data to the Government – and critics fear at least one school is being punished for its stance.

A Ministry of Education report released under the Official Information Act shows almost half of schools given extra funding to teach in te reo have refused to report their pupils’ literacy and numeracy progress data.  Read more »